Freedom

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No I am not going to write a 1000 word essay on self discipline. I believe that my post on focus should do a better job for that. Freedom is my concern today. What exactly is it?

If you look around at the world today, it’s very likely that everyone is looking for some form of freedom. If they are not looking then they just wish they had it. How do you explain ultra successful individuals who quit their day jobs to start their own ventures. Its purely a search for true freedom. But then what is true freedom?

Freedom from the world

It is essentially what we all recognize as real freedom. Most of us have grown up our whole lives struggling to get what we want in one way or another. Only a few individuals from the entire human race can say they’ve honestly had it easy. When we are born we are told not to cry too much. We want to play instead but we are told that we will bruise ourselves. There are just so many chains all around. French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said “Man is born free and yet everywhere he is in chains.” He had a valid point. Pink Floyd even sang a song to express it , “We don’t need no education..” Its true education helps us a lot but there has been a lot of argument to the structure of institutions that are meant to distribute it. We want to be free from these structures. That is why even holidays exist in schools. We all know that its a struggle to go through an entire semester sitting in small rooms in order to understand stuff. Our natural selves are always looking outside the window because we long to explore whats on the other side. If we did not bring ourselves willingly and gladly into those classrooms then it will suffice to say we have been imprisoned. We are not free.

The scenario is even made worse once one becomes an adult and joins the league of the 9-5 trotters. No holidays there (meaningful ones that is). You either love what you do or quit and let someone who does get on board. No one has time to teach you how to stay focused on what you are hired to do. Again, the captivity of the office cubicle can slowly kill you. That is how important freedom is to the human soul. But then, comes the question, What if you had it all? What if everything you think you have been deprived of is generously placed in your hands – money, time, social circles.. What will you do then?

Man is born free

Freedom from self

For freelance workers, it is time that is unlimited. For entrepreneurs, the money can be scarce. But in a way it truly isn’t. It is always just enough. The goal remains the same, to make the best use of your time and money. The challenge is learning how to stay focused on priorities. In the office place you might have felt like you were dying by doing so many things that you didn’t really give a damn about. Outside in the real world, you realize that you might be underachieving. The bait that was used to lure the productive side of you into action is no longer there – no fancy salary or threats of getting fired here. You are a lone ranger trekking your own path to success and stability. What will you do to get motivated? You are free but limited at the same time. I have now come to honestly believe that if you cant find inner strength to motivate yourself toward anything you want then you are still a prisoner inside – a prisoner of yourself. Weak character cannot be bought off with any kind of resource. In fact to the contrary it takes some kind of sacrifice.

Earlier on, I said that the resources are always just enough. So what is really holding you back is you. How do you free yourself from you? If you are weak when you start how can you expect a heavy amount of resources to be handed over to you? As a freelancer, if you got a client who is willing to pay you  7000 dollars for some web design work would you provide him with a 7000 dollar website? Not if you haven’t the slightest clue how to. If you are used to making hundred buck sites then that is precisely what you will throw at him. And if you really feel you need many clients at a go but cant organize your time well to serve 2 within the same period, how will you handle twenty?

The greatest freedom

The greatest freedom you can have is freedom from your self. The bad bits in you that is. if you can figure out how to stay focused on the strengths  and not your weaknesses you can be surprised at the progress you will make. You are not a constant that cannot be improved unless you subscribe to the motion that you are. I always say nothing is absolute. Adidas will tell you impossible is nothing. Tomato/tomayto. Sure, freeing yourself from things that do not add value to your life like a super shitty boss is necessary but what if the experience has made you rebellious to any sort of authority? You need to find out how to free yourself from that.

Some of the people who grew up in an affluent environments often wind up with the most decayed characters because no one bought them some good values to live by. Whilst most of them get by and find something interesting to make of their lives, it takes much longer than necessary. A whole load of resources ends up wasted in the hands of people who don’t really need that much. You have to ask – Have we become so alienated to our core values that when given the tools to realize them we appear completely clueless? Is society constantly suffocating us with false ideologies of what we really need? We are flashed with images of affluent lives that make it seem cool to be idle and lazy. Does it mean we should be idle and lazy. You need to free yourself from such ideologies in order to truly be free in your own eyes. Free yourself from fear, laziness, greed, hate, selfishness and such like stains if they make you feel chained inside even after every chain outside you has been let lose.

10 Sites for Alternative and Revolutionary Thinkers

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Wild Thinkers

Like the name suggests, this site is all about thinking and curiosity. I came by it on facebook while exploring the web for something to keep my ever probing mind company. When I found it, I was immediately pulled in by the numerous questions about stuff I had never bothered to wonder about. The fact that someone else was out there asking about them told me there was another whole society of alternative thinkers out there. Some of the questions on the Facebook page can be very trivial but if you check the site you will get more than just questions, you will find answers.

TED

TED is a more serious organization of thinkers with various divisions, chapters and several prominent guests as contributors. Here, more complex and significant questions are raised by reputable thinkers of our age. The list ranges from neuroscientists, marketing gurus to mathematicians. You can watch them all for free on the videos archives. The team of TED speakers often present mildly discussed issues such as cloning the human mind, the state of our society with the current boom in technological usage and the likes. Sometimes they even present intriguing discoveries and inventions. The best part about TED is that there are conversations where you get to debate on some of these fundamental topics.

The 99 percent

I like to think of this site as TED for the creatives. The 99 percent gets its name from the famous Thomas Edison quote “success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” – a very true statement indeed. These guys have dedicated the site to helping people get their ideas in action and make them a reality. Most of the material leans more towards creative and techie work but it is not entirely confined to these two fields. It is worth a look if you are looking for the push to get you seriously started on your awesome ideas and projects.

Skeptics

If you are a skeptic you will definetly grow fond of this site. There is even a magazine that comes with it. It’s the online social hub for skeptic thinking. Any large claim that has ever been made by the world is thoroughly screened for consistency and truth. They always look for an antithesis to any theory at skeptics.com, for instance, the emphasized reports about climate change and global warming. Are they really true?

Radiolab

Radiolab is an actual online listener station where the presenters take it up a notch by putting in some entertainment element to their ideas. Think of a TED talk done as a musical… Personally, I thought it was a little corny but if you are the kind who likes to learn about how mobile phones work through rap verses then you should definitely try Radiolab.

Edge

‘Conversations on the edge of human knowledge’ is the tagline for edge.org. Edge is a lot like TED which a few skeptic elements as some of the speakers are out to disprove commonly held notions. The idea is to have these persons from respected field come through and explain their most outstanding work and ideas.

Do Lectures

The Do Lectures is like what the 99 percent could have been if it took on every existing discipline ein the world. At The Do Lectures, they cover business, creativity, sport, food, health and well being and even environmental issues. The idea is the same i.e. to get ideas into reality by taking action. The site however presents its video content in a different manner as some of the lectures have been made into short features. This makes them even more interesting and engaging.

Big Think

Big Think is also much like TED but in addition to science business and innovations, it also covers leadership. There are very in depth insights to a variety of questions and I get the feeling that the site focuses less on the speakers and writers and more on the concepts presented. The topical areas are broader and even go as far as discussing love, sex and marriage. It’s quite a hook once you start browsing around.

RSA

RSA stands for Royal Society for the encouragement of arts manufactures and commerce. It’s a charity organization that is driven towards innovative change in order to solve modern social challenges. The fellows of this society create a test new social models that will work to improve how we live and also secure our future. Think of it as a forum for engaging the general public in building solutions for itself be it public transportation, health systems and so forth.

Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist’s Moving Forward Documentary

The Zeitgeist Movement

The Zeitgeist movement falls in this list because it is a revolutionary idea that was comprehensively covered in the famous Zeitgeist documentaries. Highly anarchist in nature, the zeitgeist founders believe in a different system of world structures that do not rely on governments or money driven economies. I think this is wild thinking in the making because the objective of the site is to get as many people to come together and work against the present world systems that have caused so much imbalance and chaos for humanity and form new ones which are sustainable

Good artist or Great artist?

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When learning an art or skill there are a few things one needs to be aware of. These are normally referred to as the basics or the rules. The more artificial (man made) the art is, the more the basics. For example, if you are learning the art of playing chess, then the science is in the rules that limit how each piece moves. These rules did not simply appear out of nowhere. They were made by men. After learning these, you might fine tune the art of chess to use human behavioral studies and know how certain facial expressions will precede certain moves. Poker pros have already made it that far. If you are learning how to sing however, your best voice can come from a method that you yourself invent. But of course you still need to understand things like keys and staying in pitch.

In my honest view, there are two ways of grasping an art (or skill). You must come to terms with the basics or the theory so to speak. How far the basics go is upon your discretion of what an ordinary artist in your field should be expected to know. After that you have two options. You can choose to become a master by learning from other masters. In this way, you get to copy what’s already been tested and assumed to work well. This would be the case of an amateur poker player trying to read people’s faces. It’s been done and perfected already. This will be all means make you a good artist. Option number two is to become a master by inventing your own style – redefining the state of the art. Reading faces (to the best of my knowledge) is not a technique I hear a lot of chess players using. If you discover it and hack it this will by all means make you a great artist!

To be a renowned legend you must lead but to be simply known, you must follow. Invent or apply, the choice is yours.

Here is a list of artists who delved into the unknown and created something new.

Erez Liberman Aiden

Erez Liberman Aiden, inventor of culturomics.

Picasso

Evariste Galois

Steve Jobs

Erez Lieberman Aiden

Larry Page and Serge Brin

Mark Zuckerberg

John Pemberton (inventor of Coca cola)

Here is a list of guys who made history by following examples before them.

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey created twitter

Tiger Woods

Aristotle

Aerosmith

Will smith

Usain Bolt

Jack Dorsey

Lionel Messi

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I once talked about conscious cognition in robots through programs but these TED guys are taking it to the core of the matter.

Elolight

When talking about Artificial Intelligence many people will think of things like HAL or a star trek like computer system and then people think of what we have today and believe artificial intelligence is impossible. Computer programmers like myself realize that the amount of traditional coding required to build a consciousness would be impossible.

However scientists are working on technology and doing research today that will fundamentally change how we do AI in the future. Sebastian Seung is working on mapping the human brain wiring, something he is calling the connectome, and Henry Markram is working on building the brain one synapse at a time and both these scientists represent the coming of a perfect storm of technology for AI.

Today’s artificial intelligence all works the same and that is if Event A happens then do action B. It is a reactionary model based around what developers call if…

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Rational Gaze

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This is a song by a band called Meshuggah. Its called Rational Gaze

Scary, it sounds like something I wrote about once … except for the twin headed serpent part of course, hehe!

Squint your eyes to see clearly. Blur reality to make
it real
Let focus go from your deceiving eyes to know what’s
been concealed
We’ve all been blinded – Subjects to visual
misinformation
A systematic denial of the crystalline

To see the fine grain, to read the hidden words
The context of parallel truth – Devoid of
fragmentation

Our light-induced image of truth – Filtered blank of
its substance
As our eyes won’t adhere to intuitive lines
Everything examined, Separated, one thing at a time
The harder we stare the more complete the
disintegration. -Dissolution

Eyes re-opened, Reasoning focalized, Receptors
activated

Perspectives distorted
The ladder beyond our grasp
The twin-headed serpent forever hidden
Where’s the true knowledge –
Where engines of the sane & insanity merge
The clarity. The unity

Reality untouchable, transparent, invisible
to our fixed, restricted fields of vision
Existence taken for granted. -Absolute

Possessed, owned, controlled
By the common sense-infected rational gaze
Onward forever we walk among the ignorant
Never stray from the common lines

Meshuggah

 

4 Steps to Beginning your Lifestyle Design Journey

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Two posts back, I talked about lifestyle design in a very descriptive manner. I described a number of different models and summarily stated that values are what matter in the ultimate design. Indeed they do but before you go ahead and chose to be a socialite, traveler, missionary or anything of that sort you should ask yourself whether you are meeting a balance with your day to day array of experiences. Without balance, you might be end up a digital nomad with no friends; a lone wanderer or a socialite with no spirituality; a dead soul leeching off the energy of the people you surround yourself with or you could be claiming minimalism to excuse your lack of authority in matters financial. I think with regards to shaping one’s lifestyle there are a number of steps that one should consider going through before saying “..this is the life for me”.

Lifestyle dimensions

One is identifying aspects of your life that mater e.g. finances, social life, passions and spiritual. Its true, some people have found conviction that some aspects of their lives are not important at all. There are people who don’t really value material riches and prefer a life of health to a life of wealth. There are people who belief happiness can be found in a passion and thus may neglect the need to watch over their health believing that their passion has more importance. A good case in point would be Marie Curie who discovered polonium and radium, two highly radioactive elements which seriously compromised her health. She was so attached to her passion of scientific advancement that it got in the way of the natural need to preserve her health. Some things are vital. Health, financial security being a few. Nontheless, some aspects are to be left to personal discretion. I have always said that absolutes are relative to personal perspectives. Nevertheless, if you ignore something that’s important in your own personal perspective just to avoid having to work hard to get it then you might be setting your self up for a breakdown. In this equation, one thing always has to change. You can either change who you are e.g. become an atheist as opposed to searching for a befitting religion or change whats missing – accepting you have a spiritual side that needs fulfillment. As long as you belief in the goodness of either one option then the final option is right.

Principles

Marie Curie

Marie Curie discovers radium

After the aspects that matter are clear, its time to identify personal principles for which to lay the foundations for these aspects. e.g what kind of a social life suits you or what is friendship to you (how far does it go, how many friends). This is where you put values to the aspects. At this point one must be careful not to confuse what is socially proper with what you want as an individual. This is where so many people go wrong, be it in relationship choices, career paths, religious denomination, financial obligations and the like. It calls for raw objectivity to be able to sieve out the irrelevant and stick with what’s best for you. Just because everyone else has a 9 – 5 job does not mean it should be the same for you. The idea with any path chosen is that it should conform with some principles that you have decided to believe in. For instance, minimalists don’t believe financial obligations should consist of anything that has no deep meaning to your life. And this might go to the extremes of expenses such as rent and fuel. Because of this your personal possessions as a minimalist may exclude so many items including a TV. At the same time, if one of your principles is that marriage is not an ideal institution then you might choose to have uncommitted relationships with people. Of course this is if the said people also believe in these kinds of relationships. They can teach you a thing or two about how to stay focused on what you value in such a lifestyle.

Strategy

Defining a long term lifestyle set up e.g. being a blogger (for passions) or being a better father (social) This is where actual targets are brought in. These targets define the ideal of what abiding to your principles should be like. That’s where the tough choices come in. You may decide that your passion for instance is photography. Your principle is that the world is beautiful and it needs to be shared. Your objective is to share the world with the world and not necessarily to appear to be the greatest photographer that ever lived. So you may make a plan where you will visit x number of countries each year so as to capture as much of the world as possible and share it at the same time.  This is long term. You could also make a mid term plan just to start you off and pick Argentina, India and Italy to photo,. pick some photographers to meet and contact them …etc etc.

The daily stream

And finally there is setting up daily streams of activity that contribute to each aspect of your life. The final stage is where you build the castle and at the same time live in it. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the beginning stages of lifestyle design – the baby steps are just as much a part of the lifestyle as is the final tipping point when everything proceeds on autopilot. If you can’t enjoy the process of learning how to do something then you are missing like an entire half of the fun that comes with your chosen design. Whenever you lose your daily stream you end up pondering about how to stay focused.The real answer to this lies in everyday activities that build your daily stream of activities.

People get engrossed so much in the future and what candy lies therein that they forget to pick up the small crumbs of excitement that comes with initial growth. Its easy to dream and to want some things in your life to change but without actual action to produce it then you are simply taunting yourself with delusional bait. Being rich is a daily lifestyle made of small activities that relate to wealth. If you waste your money everyday on something that is not an asset then you will never be rich because that is simply not the way rich people roll. Rich people first buy the assets then spill the money from the assets on small luxuries. There’s a style to it. You can’t become the giving philanthropist you aspire to be if you cant give a cent to a beggar all week long. You cant become a virtuoso piano player without touching some keys each day. And there’s more to it than just a routine cycle of the same activities. Innovation is key. You need to embody the LD in every angle. You could be taking photos today in a museum, tomorrow its a whole bunch of models who were interested in your work. What you are going to do today will set up the pace for your lifestyle? Do it everyday, and you are a certified (insert lifestyle design tag)-ist.